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Relationships Really Matter: 3. How To Parent Together When Separating and Apart

It can be especially difficult to parent together when separating and / or apart. Sometimes behaviour can impact our children without even knowing it. Take a look at the following 2 diagrams which may help you to think about this?

Diagram 1 which illustrates how your child may be feeling and have a look at what you can do to prevent this from happening. (Click on the diagram to see a larger version in a new window)

Diagram 2 which demonstrates some unhelpful behaviours you may recognise and have a look at what you can do instead. (Click on the diagram to see a larger version in a new window)


Co-Parent Hub logo

If you are a separated parent, then Co-Parent Hub is just for you. The information and advice on the Hub can help you and your ex-partner to be good co-parents.

The Co-Parent Hub was created by experts at charities, Cafcass, children’s services providers and the Ministry of Justice in order to provide you with online tools to help you during and after your separation and in making arrangements for your child.

Visit the Co-Parent Hub at

Our Family Wizard logo

With Our Family Wizard, your schedule, files, contacts, and communication are contained within one app, so you can solve shared custody challenges faster and without confusion. That means less conflict and more energy to focus on your children. 

Powerful tools document your parenting time, child-related expenses, exchanges, and more. 

Visit OurFamilyWizard | The Best Co-Parenting App


Many people find that Mediation is quicker, less stressful and less expensive than going to court, and in most cases the court will expect you to consider Mediation seriously before going to court.  A Mediator helps you and your ex-partner, without being on anyone’s ‘side’. 

Mediation is free for people who qualify for Legal aid.  You can see if you qualify here. You can also search for Mediators that offer online services on the Family Mediation Council website.

Listening to children

There is a lot happening after separating from your partner. It can often be a time of high emotion and often high conflict. While you might be doing your best to protect your child from the impact of separation, children will often pick up on many of these emotions and experiences and might need to talk about the situation. Below are some useful guides on how to listen to your child, and understand how they feel!

When parents separate, the top priority in sorting things out should be the needs of the children. However, researchers have noted that children are often left with no one to talk to.

  Childline logo 
For children and young peopleChildline has a lot of good advice and suggestions about how to cope.

  Cafcass Transparent logo
 There are many places that you can access on line and telephone support.  Many links are available on the Cafcass main website, and this is a good place to start. 

The Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) is a course which helps you understand how to put your children first while you are separating, even though you may be in dispute with your child’s other parent. The course helps parents learn the fundamental principles of how to manage conflict and difficulties – including how to put this in practice. You will not attend the same session as your ex-partner. 

The programme encourages you to take steps for yourselves; this may include developing agreements that do not need court intervention. The Programme will give you ideas and signpost ways in which you can get help outside court. The majority of parents that o on the course find it very helpful.

Visit Separated Parents Information Programme – Cafcass Co-Parent Hub (

  Relate Logo
 If you are worried about how you are coping with emotions or your relationships more widely, then Relate can give online advice. 


Family Justice Youth Board LogoFamily Justice Young People's Board

Visit Family Justice Young People's Board - Cafcass - Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

Lots of advice for parents and professionals, including:

Top Tips for Parents for Parents who are Separated  - click on the image below to open this document


  Advice now logo

Help with family problems
Free to use. There is a charge for two guides but these are available for free for those who cannot afford them – just press ‘Request free guide’ button.

Lots of resources for separated and separating families, both how to organise arrangements for the children (and how to deal with new problems that emerge) and how to sort out the finances. The survival guides support readers to think through the issues and agree arrangements between themselves, or with the help of a mediator or solicitor. If that is not possible, we also have step-by-step guides for those that have no option but to go to court. Using these guides also enables access to Advicenow’s panel of Resolution solicitors for a low-cost, fixed fee. Resolution solicitors are committed to helping people resolve their family disputes in a constructive way that considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the children. Advicenow can also help with other family issues, as well as housing and benefit problems.

More couples discuss what they would do if they won the lottery than how they would co-parent their children in the event of separation, says the Positive Parenting Alliance.

'The Parents Promise' is a commitment made today, whilst a couple is still together, about how they will do what’s best for the long-term wellbeing and mental health of their children, should their relationship break down in the future. It aims to better protect children affected by family separation, reducing the long term emotional and developmental impacts that adversarial separation can have on children.

Visit: to make a #ParentsPromise and download a promise certificate


Child Contact

NACCC is a charity dedicated to child contact, providing safe spaces where children can meet the parents they don't live with.

Their website has sections for children, young people, parents, and professionals.

You can find a contact centre near to you, read questions and answers about child contact services

Stories about contact centres - the stories explore the emotions that children and young people could be feeling and how a child contact centre can help

Questions and Answers about divorce and separation and what will happen at the contact centre

Videos and further links to help



Find out your rights around child contact and get advice for supporting children during a separation.

Visit Separation and divorce | NSPCC

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